WorldAffairs

The internet, GPS, voice recognition programs like Siri – many of the technologies that we use today were developed with national security in mind. These inventions and many others began as projects of the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), the Defense Department’s secretive military research agency. For more than fifty years, DARPA has held to a singular and enduring mission: to make pivotal investments in breakthrough technologies for national security. The genesis of that mission and of DARPA itself dates to the Cold War and the launch of Sputnik in 1957, and a commitment by the United States that it would be the initiator and not the victim of strategic technological surprises. Working with innovators inside and outside of government, DARPA has repeatedly delivered on that mission, transforming revolutionary concepts and even seeming impossibilities into practical capabilities. The ultimate results have included not only game-changing military capabilities such as precision weapons and stealth technology, but also major innovations in modern civilian society.

How do they do it? What makes this military organization such fertile ground for invention? What technologies with useful daily applications have failed to enter into civilian use? Can Silicon Valley learn from DARPA, or vice versa? Drawing on extensive interviews, declassified memos and inside sources, investigative journalist Annie Jacobsen will share insights into this top-secret organization.

Speaker Annie Jacobsen is an Investigative Journalist and Author.

The conversation is moderated by Andrew Becker, Reporter, The Center for Investigative Reporting.

For more information please visit: http://www.worldaffairs.org/event-calendar/event/1386

Direct download: 09_29_15_Annie_Jacobsen.mp3
Category:News & Politics -- posted at: 8:00pm PST

This week’s episode focuses on Technology and Innovation and comes in two parts. In the first half hour, we will highlight the future and where the next great innovations are likely to come from, in a conversation with Eric Schmidt of Alphabet and Tom Kalil of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy. In the second half of this episode, we will look to the past and what has made the great innovators of Silicon Valley. This is an excerpt from a conversation between Walter Isaacson of the Aspen Institute and Jane Wales of the World Affairs Council.

Speakers: Eric Schmidt, Executive Chairman of Alphabet

Tom Kalil, Deputy Director of Technology and Innovation at the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy

Walter Isaacson, President and CEO of the Aspen Institute

Jane Wales, President and CEO of the World Affairs Council

Direct download: 12_14_15_Schmidt_Isaacson_Technology_Innovation.mp3
Category:News & Politics -- posted at: 11:08am PST

Israel is one of the most diverse societies in the world, often described as a mosaic. While Israelis and Arabs struggle to find lasting peace, social divides are only widening following last summer’s conflict with Hamas in Gaza. One of the largest obstacles to protecting vulnerable populations affected in both Israel and the Occupied Territories is clear policy that will expand and secure human rights. How can Israelis and Palestinians foster a culture of human rights and bring about real change in Israel across all sectors of society? The Association for Civil Rights in Israel (ACRI) is Israel’s largest and oldest human rights organization, dealing with the entire spectrum of rights and civil liberties issues in Israel and the Occupied Territories. Through precedent-setting legal work, human rights education, public outreach and international advocacy, ACRI has contributed significantly to the protection and enforcement of human rights in Israel and the Occupied Territories. As Executive Director of ACRI, Sharon Abraham-Weiss takes head on some of Israel’s most challenging issues.

The conversation is moderated by Chimène Keitner, Professor of Law at the UC Hastings College of the Law.

For more information about this event please visit: http://www.worldaffairs.org/events/event/1517

Direct download: 10_22_15_Sharon_Abraham-Weiss.mp3
Category:News & Politics -- posted at: 12:42pm PST

As sea levels rise, winters become harsher and crop patterns are disturbed. All eyes look towards Paris and the UN climate change conference to see if the international community can make meaningful progress towards curbing emissions. While the role of states in negotiating a treaty can be expected, what roles do philanthropy and the private sector play in creating state agendas and implementing change? This discussion will focus on the current state of the environment, what we can expect from upcoming negotiations and how we can work across sectors to implement solutions.

Speakers Guillermo Castilleja, Chief Program Officer, Environmental Conservation, Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, David G. Victor, Professor of International Relations, School of International Relations and Pacific Studies, University of California, San Diego, and Sissel Waage, Director, Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services, BSR, are in discussion.

Alicia Seiger, Deputy Director, Steyer-Taylor Center for Energy Policy and Finance, Stanford University, moderates the discussion.

For more information about this event please visit: http://www.worldaffairs.org/media-library/event/1547

Direct download: 10_16_15_WA15_Combat_Climate_Change.mp3
Category:News & Politics -- posted at: 12:49pm PST

We are facing a unique and interesting time with the confluence of fundamental disruptive trends that are shaping our world. The dramatic transition witnessed since the beginning of the 21st century has been brought about by the convergence of the following: the shifting locus of economic activity and dynamism to emerging markets like China; the acceleration in the scope, scale, and economic impact of technology; changing world demographics; and global connectivity through trade and cross border flows in capital, people and information. Virtually every market in every sector has been or will be affected by the growing impacts of these trends whose multiplier effects stand to radically change long-standing expectations. In the midst of this era of disruption is opportunity. Those who are agile, forward thinking and optimistic will harness the power of disruption and thrive. Join us for a conversation about the four global forces breaking all the trends.

Speaker Thomas Friedman is a Foreign Affairs Columnist at The New York Times.

He is in conversation with James M. Manyika, Senior Partner and Director of McKinsey & Company, and Director of the McKinsey Global Institute.

For more information about this event please visit: http://www.worldaffairs.org/events/event/1523

Direct download: 10_28_15_Tom_Friedman.mp3
Category:News & Politics -- posted at: 7:38am PST

Recently appointed President of the United States Institute of Peace, Nancy Lindborg, will discuss the global challenge of fragility and conflict, including a vision for the way forward. Ms. Lindborg’s talk comes on the heels of the United Nations General Assembly in New York, the adoption of the Sustainable Development Goals, and Ms. Lindborg’s travel to USIP projects on the ground. Ms. Lindborg’s remarks will reflect these recent events and a lifetime of working in the world’s most fragile regions at a time when the global humanitarian system is at a breaking point, with record numbers of people forcibly displaced globally.

The United States Institute of Peace was established by Congress in 1984 as an independent, nonpartisan institution to increase the nation’s capacity to manage international conflict without violence. USIP staff and partners work in some of the world’s most fragile regions including Iraq, Afghanistan, and the Middle East and North Africa.

Speaker Nancy Lindborg is President of the United States Institute of Peace.

Janes Wales, President and CEO of the World Affairs Council, moderates the conversation.

For more information about this event please visit: http://www.worldaffairs.org/media-library/event/1514

Direct download: 10_08_15_Nancy_Lindborg.mp3
Category:News & Politics -- posted at: 12:47pm PST

Whether it be the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP), the historic nuclear deal with Iran, or the upcoming climate negotiations in Paris, the European Union and the United States are increasingly called upon to demonstrate global leadership. As EU Ambassador to the United States, David O’Sullivan plays a key role in transatlantic relations, working with all 28 EU member states in Washington, DC to coordinate and present the EU position in the United States.

Ambassador O’Sullivan will discuss policy priorities and major challenges facing the EU and the United States in 2015, including ensuring a sustainable economic recovery, dealing with emerging threats, and working to promote democracy, human rights and good governance around the world.

Jane Wales, President and CEO of the World Affairs Council, moderates the discussion.

This is a program of the World Affairs Councils of America in partnership with the Delegation of the European Union to the United States.

For more information about this event please visit: http://www.worldaffairs.org/events/event/1521

Direct download: 10_13_15_David_O_Sullivan.mp3
Category:News & Politics -- posted at: 2:01pm PST

Energy efficiency is one of the easiest and most cost effective ways to curb carbon emissions, not to mention beneficial for businesses and consumers alike in terms of cost reduction. But behaviors are hard to change. Leveraging the internet and connected smart devices may be the key to incorporating energy efficient technologies and practices into everyday life, and significantly curbing carbon emissions. In developing countries, where the biggest opportunities to elevate energy productivity exist, energy efficient technologies are poised to make huge inroads. What does the future hold for the internet of things and its impact on energy usage and ultimately reducing carbon emissions?

Speaker Dora Hsu, Chief Platform Officer, SmartThings, is in discussion with Michael Soucie, Head of Consumer Product Partnerships, Nest Labs.

Adam Satariano, Technology Reporter, Bloomberg News, moderates the discussion.

For more information about this event please visit: http://www.worldaffairs.org/media-library/event/1541

Direct download: 10_16_15_WA15_Impacting_Climate_Change.mp3
Category:News & Politics -- posted at: 1:56pm PST

Upward mobility and the resulting growth of the middle class have long been the promise of the American dream, inspiring many to come to our shores. But technology-driven globalization, while creating great wealth and lifting many from poverty, has also left many behind. High growth economies like China, India and Nigeria are experiencing disparities that have implications for stability. And, in the US, inequality in income is the highest it has been since 1928. How can technology innovation be matched by social innovation? What will be the future of work in high and low growth economies? And how can the current and future workforce prepare for the jobs that await? These are the questions that are on the minds of some of our country’s leading technologists, including LinkedIn founder Reid Hoffman. The World Affairs Council has invited Hoffman and fellow innovators to explore these questions and report out to those gathering here at WorldAffairs 2015.

Speakers

Reid Hoffman, Founder of LinkedIn and Greylock Partners
James Manyika, McKinsey Global Institute
Byron Auguste, Co-founder, Opportunity@Work
Zoe Baird, President, Markle Foundation
Moderator: Jane Wales, CEO, World Affairs Council and Global Philanthropy Forum; Vice President, The Aspen Institute

For more information about this event please visit: http://www.worldaffairs.org/media-library/event/1540

 

Direct download: 10_16_15_WA15_On_My_Mind_Inequality.mp3
Category:News & Politics -- posted at: 1:52pm PST

Experts say the next epidemic will not be a question of 'if' it will happen, but rather 'when.' With that in mind and looking at the recent catastrophic Ebola outbreak in West Africa, what are the lessons learned from this tragedy and what needs to be done to ensure it does not happen again? Governments in the affected countries played key roles in both stopping the spread of Ebola and failing to respond properly. How can troubled governments best react to epidemics? What role do the business and philanthropic communities have in the prevention of – or reaction to – an outbreak?

Julie Gerberding, Executive Vice President, Population Health, Merck & Co., Inc., is in discussion with Joia Mukherjee, Chief Medical Officer, Partners in Health.

The conversation is moderated by Eva Harris, Faculty Director, Center for Global Public Health; Professor of Infectious Disease, University of California, Berkeley.

For more information about this event please visit: http://www.worldaffairs.org/media-library/event/1538

Direct download: 10_16_15_WA15_Combat_Future_Epidemics.mp3
Category:News & Politics -- posted at: 1:45pm PST